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Context? What Context?. An idiot’s guide ( ie : written by one) to surviving the Context Study in Units 1 & 2 of VCE English. What IS “Context”? . An easier question to answer is: What is Context NOT? It’s not a text study It’s not a “theme”
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Context? What Context? An idiot’s guide (ie: written by one) to surviving the Context Study in Units 1 & 2 of VCE English
What IS “Context”? • An easier question to answer is: What is Context NOT? • It’s not a text study • It’s not a “theme” • It’s not something you can just pick up and rattle off at the last minute. ... what is it? The Context Study is an exploration of an idea or concept that focuses on learning how to write about those ideasthrough studying a core textand others that might contribute not just ideas but possibilities for writing. … so …
‘Kay ... Gimme the nitty-gritty, please! ... You got it: Unit 1 Context Study: “The Future” Core text:1984 by George Orwell Endgame: By early Term 2, complete a series of short pieces that explore your ideas about The Future. Process: Step-by-step 1. Read 1984 2. Develop your own directions from this: what sort of future does Orwell envisage? Do I agree with his vision? What are the critical aspects of Orwell’s future society? Have any of his ‘predictions’ come “true”? What role does technology play? AND ... How has Orwell “constructed” 1984? What is noticeable about his use of language? (Plenty!) What techniques has Orwell used to create character – description? – “voice” (both the thoughts and the use of phonetic spellings). The Writing Task: over four lessons, during the first two weeks of Term 2, you will have class time to turn drafts, scribbles, plans and theories into three* pieces of writing that are separate, but which, when added together, will illustrate your view of the Future (useful tip: compare or contrast to Orwell!)
Starting off ... Read the book. Film is hard to get; hard to watch – but excellent. Most of this “background” process can (should) take place at your own pace*, and in your own place. We can use the blog to share thoughts and questions. Start an “e-journal” ... Just a Word doc ...sharing is easier like this, as is converting sketches and ideas later on. Start with questions: what is confusing about 1984? What words/events/scenes are interesting, or unusual, or confronting ... familiar? (and !) “Talk” to me (your teacher)! No, seriously, this is important ... Stay in touch through the blog (ideas, exercises, support material and extension resources); by email (questions, problems, ideas) and through face-to-face (especially if there are reasons why work is hard ...)
Exploring the idea and concept THE FUTURE are you optimistic? or pessimistic? technology – what difference will it make? biggest threats – war? climate change? political? disease? economic? Write: “In my life” – what will the world be like when you are 64? (2056!) Compare: Visions of the future – Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, 8 most common predictions
Core text 1984 Plot: Winston is a tiny cog in The Party, the political organisation which controls every aspect of life in Oceania. There are 3 levels of society: Inner Party, Outer Party and the Proles. Winston is a desperate, quiet rebel: hiding from the Telescreen’s gaze and writing a personal diary is as extreme as he gets. However, that changes when Julia makes contact, telling him she loves him. Together they meet secretly, and plan to make contact with “The Brotherhood” an organisation dedicated to the overthrow of “The Party” and its mythical leader, “Big Brother”. They do so through O’Brien – who betrays them. Imprisoned and tortured, after a lengthy and painful resistance, Winston eventually breaks down, and betrays Julia. He ends at the Chestnut Tree cafe (as all the great rebels do) drinking gin and crying with love for Big Brother.
Craft of writing and the core • Characters: Winston, Julia, O’Brien • and Parsons, Syme, Mr Charrington • Sections/structure: 3 parts: Before Love; In Love; and in the Ministry of Love • Language – • Phonetic ‘accents’: proles • “Newspeak”: Syme • Descriptive language – places; scenes ...
Extensions ... • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury • The Minority Report – Phillip K Dick • Mortal Engines – Phillip Reeve • V for Vendetta – Moore/Lloyd • Planet of the Apes • Gattaca • Bladerunner • AI – Artificial Intelligence • The Matrix
Footnotes • “Core text” – 1984 is the central text, but you could read others (“Brave New World”) and watch films to contrast or extend ideas from Orwell’s book • “Three” ... Aim for three. This is negotiable upward – if your concept requires it AND you are sure you can fit it into the time you have available. • Make sure your own “pace” isn’t a snail’s ... • http://migster.wordpress.com Tattoo it somewhere safe!